Bernard’s story is a sad one. He first appeared on a census in 1891. He lived with his family at 15 Spead Eagle Street Chesterfield Derbyshire. The family comprised of James (Head) aged 35, a tailor who had been born in Cavan Ireland. His wife was Agnes aged 27 and had been born in Leeds, Yorkshire. Their children were Margaret 6 born in Oldham, Catherine 4 born in Dewsbury, Bernard 2 born in Dewsbury and Agnes 1 who had been born in Chesterfield. Looks as if James was a travelling tailor judging by all the places they’d lived in.
It seems that James Leddy died around 1897 when he was only in his 40s by which time the family lived in Salford, Lancashire. This had a devastating effect on the family as the 1901 census revealed. Bernard who was about 12 was in Buckley Hall Orphanage for Roman Catholic Boys in Rochdale. (His first name is fudged on the form and it says he was born in Salford but we believe it is him). His mother was in Salford District workhouse where she was listed as a 37 year old tailoress. She had with her a daughter aged 10 months – Eva Moffatt Leddy. Catherine and Margaret were both resident domestic servants with different families. We haven’t yet located little Agnes jnr who would have been about 11. There was a Lawrence Leddy aged 4 listed as a pauper in Salford Union Infirmary
The following year in 1902 Agnes (snr) remarried. She married a John Moffitt
We have not located Bernard in the 1911 census
There is no index card for Bernard in the Flintshire Roll of Honour in The County Record Office. UK Soldiers who Died in The Great War 1914-19 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental details above and tells us that he enlisted in Wrexham and that he was ‘killed in action’.
Bernard’s Service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk. They are in a poor state and difficult to decipher but tell us a little more about what happened to him. He enlisted in Wrexham very early in the war – in August 1914. His attestation papers tell us that he lived in lodgings. He explained on the form that he had previously been rejected by the army because of his bad teeth. He was described as 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 132 lbs. He had a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. There was a ‘coal scar’ on his left forearm. His trade was ‘labourer’. He was a Roman Catholic.
An army casualty form reports that he was wounded in the right knee on the 10th August 1915 and went missing the same day. His death was eventually assumed for official purposes to have occurred on 10th August 1915 in Gallipoli. There is some evidence that the army had a problem tracing his mother Agnes Moffitt who was listed as his next of kin. There were a couple of addresses for her recorded – the first at 66 Heap Terrace off Erddig Road Wrexham and another Reol Farm Winchcombe Gloucestershire. The third address appears on the CWGCertificate 11, Robin Hood Terrace, Crew Street Shrewsbury. She signed a receipt to say she had received his medals. There is an army form in the record that lists his relatives and this states that his father was dead. It names Lawrence Leddy aged 24 and living in Shrewsbury as a full blood brother and Agnes Leddy 31 as a full blood sister living in Hyde Cheshire. It names a half blood sister Sarah Ellen Moffitt aged 17 and living in Shrewsbury. (Margaret ,Catherine and Eva Moffitt Leddy are not listed).
Bernard Leddy in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that his date of death was on or since 10 Aug 1915 when death was presumed and the sole Legatee was his mother Agnes Moffitt who was paid £2 17s 2d on the 1st May 1917 and his War Gratuity of £3 on the 11th September 1919.
The War Diary of the 8th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers may help.
ANZAC 5th August 1915 – Headquarters, Machine Gun Detachment & ‘A’ & ‘B’ Coys proceeded at 10.00 am to RUSSELL’S TOP where they joined the troops there under the command of Brig. Gen. HUGHES.
‘C’ & ‘D’ Coys forwarded to MONASH GULLY & joined the force under command of Brig. Gen. CHEVAL
6th August 1915 Remained at RUSSELL’S TOP. Received oder for attack on following day. Heavy cannonade all night – general attack commenced on both flanks.
ANZAC 7th August 1915. – Paraded at 3.30 am & marched to MONASH GULLY. Orders had been issued that the 3/Light Horse Brigade were to rush the NEK at 4.30 am after a preparatory bombardment. When the trenches opposite had been seized the 8/ Royal Welsh Fusiliers were to advance and seize the Turkish trenches at C6 eventually making good the CHESSBOARD.
At 5.10 am a message was received that the Australians had relieved (a) the NEK and the Fusiliers were to advance at once.
‘A’ and ‘B’ Coys had previously to this, advanced up the GULLY to a wire fence & entanglement which the R.E. demolished, the track shortly after this bifurcated (b) the area/position going to the left & are to the right, ‘A’ Coy had been ordered to follow the right which led into about the centre of the Turkish line while ‘B’ Coy was to go to the top of the Gully & work down the Turkish trench & effect a junction with ‘A’ Company.
The Gully was very steep & the slopes of both sides covered with thick scrub so it was difficult to work up to the top – the last ten or fifteen feet was loose earth where it was almost impossible to get a foothold.
‘A’ Company got almost to the top of the ridge when it was attacked by bombs and a machine gun placed in the trench at the crest. Casualties occurred at once & the men falling back knocked over the men coming up behind – owing to the narrow frontage to carry (c) the ridge with a rush & therefore it was decided see whether it would not be more expedient for ‘A’ Coy to turn and follow up in rear of ‘B’ Coy.
But by this time ‘B’ Coy had been held up by fire from two machine guns on the ridge & also by bombs – the whole of the leading platoon (with its Officer and the Company Commander) being killed or wounded.
A Staff Officer shortly after came from General HUGHES to say that as the Australian advance had failed no further advance was to be made by the R.W.F.& that the Battalion remained in the Gully till the evening when it returned to bivouac on RUSSELL’S TOP.
Explanation of Army jargon.
(a). Relieved. Means take over from and thus relieve them of responsibility.
(b). Bifurcated the area / position. The track forked and went either side of the enemy position from which the RE had cleared the wire.
(c). Carry. Means overcome – capture. The context seems to be that a single company was forced by the gully into too narrow a frontage thus creating a massed target that the enemy, especially machine guns, could not miss. Carried. Means successfully overcame – captured.
ANZAC 8th August 1915.
Headquarters & ‘A’ & ‘B’ Coys moved at 10.30 am to No. 3 Section. Here ‘C’ & ‘D’ had been since the 5th.
9th August 1915 The Battalion, (less the Machine Gun Detachment which remained in No. 3 Section) moved to BRIDGES ROAD as Army Corps Reserve.
10th AUGUST 1915 Orders were received at 6.30 am to proceed to the left flank to report to the Headquarters of the Australian & New Zealand Division.
Arrived there about 10 am & moved up the CHAILAK DERE into bivouacs, At 8.0 pm paraded and marched up to the Apex to entrench. One Company sent forward to reinforce the troops holding the Apex while the remainder formed a covering and working party on RHODODENRON SPUR.
Considerable firing took place during the night & about 2.0.am orders were received to send a Company up to reinforce the Leinster Regt. on the Apex. Nothing, however, occurred & the Battalion returned to bivouacs at daylight.
There has been nothing so far to link him to Connah’s Quay so we cannot explain why this poor lad was named on this particular memorial. There must be a reason. There is one other Bernard Leddy listed in UK Soldiers who Died in the Great War 1914-19 but he enlisted in Ireland and served in an Irish regiment. We believe he must be a relative of ‘our’ Bernard because he hailed from Cavan the home town of James Leddy – the father who died. There is a chance that we have made a mistake and assumed the Bernard Leddy we have featured here is not the one named on the Memorial. Please can anyone help?